The Elusive Allocation of Responsibility to Informal Organizations: The Case of the Quartet on the Middle East
SHARES Research Paper 20 (2013), ACIL 2013-01
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Published in: M. Ragazzi (ed.) The Responsibility of International Organizations: Essays in Memory of Sir Ian Brownlie (Martinus Nijhoff, 2013), pp. 261-273.
This paper considers the question of responsibility for omissions of the Quartet on the Middle East. The Quartet was created to assist in the peace process between Israel and Palestine. Its core document is the Roadmap, but in recent years it has failed to live up to its expectations and arguably this constituted a breach of obligations to prevent. The ensuing questions of attribution of conduct and allocation of responsibility are highly complex, as this paper’s analysis has demonstrated. The members of the Quartet, the US, the UN, the EU and Russia, have created an entity that is not an international organisation with separate legal personality, so it cannot be held responsible. Holding the individual members responsible, which would be the obvious alternative, is highly problematic due to the requirement of individualised conduct for attribution, the diversity of the obligations binding on the members of the Quartet and the difficulty in distinguishing each contribution to the Quartet’s omissions.